It’s impossible to dream that the two girls in Brooklyn concept phenomenon could continue to propagate. Granted, there are varying degrees of those shows worth watching, Girls and 2 Broke Girls not being among them (indeed, Zhe Zhe addresses the ridiculousness of Girls with a scene in episode two, “It’s A Mad Blonde World,” during which people attend a Lena Dunham Support Group).
On the heels of the absurdist success of Broad City, Zhe Zhe offers something that the former cannot: a far more unabashed alternate reality that foretells the imminent doom of New York as a place for artists. As though they bottled some of the camp from The Mighty Boosh (which Flight of the Conchords also bears similarities t0), the aesthetic of Zhe Zhe, named for the two-girl band it stars, is surrealist DIY at its finest–with plenty of wigs, to boot.
After Jean D’Arc (Leah Hennessey) and Mona de Liza (Ruby McCollister) are deserted by their lead band member/benefactress, Chewie (Emily Allan), they try to find a replacement/continue to seek fame in their pocket of New York City–though they both already assume everyone knows who they are. On the periphery of the plot are “edgy” director Peabody Cornhole (Ed Malone), first hired by Chewie to shoot Zhe Zhe’s music video before moving on to direct an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet starring recovering heroin addicts, and comedy show star Pat Phone (E.J. O’Hara). Both will end up being a part of Chewie’s master plan by the time she’s finished taking vengeance on Jean and Mona.
The kitsch abounds with every second of the show, which increases in length with each episode. From getting attacked with a flying star weapon for calling a lesbian “she” to singing songs about Roman Polanski and Charles Manson in L.A., Zhe Zhe is rife with incongruity that is soon to be not so far from the truth. During episode three, “Sick,” for instance, Mona watches a “historical documentary” about partying in 2013. An interviewee for the subject matter, Courtney Coccyx, pretentiously notes, “I think we have entered new paradigm, I think we are going to enter new paradigm, and yet, at the same time, nothing’s changed. Do you know what I mean?” When Mona balks, “How can this be history? It just happened.” Jean replies (in her deadpan fashion), “Culture’s accelerating, Mona. History is over.” Hopefully, Zhe Zhe remains a part of the period known as Saving Brooklyn From Itself.